By Su Chen Cheng, Group Managing Director, Government & Institution and Owners & Investors
Technology continues to be one of the main driving forces behind changes in the real estate industry. From drones and machine learning used in land inspection, to digital transformation in the form of automated transportation records, technology is creating a huge impact by streamlining current processes and providing new solutions to challenges faced by real estate professionals.
While it is essential that Singapore embarks on the journey to embrace technological change, as highlighted in Cushman & Wakefield’s recent Policy Watch Report, the industry is also impacted by a heightened state of uncertainty as a result of macro-economic factors from around the world, which will, in turn, drive operating costs higher.
Major economic uncertainties will typically have a ripple effect on how firms operate. As firms are forced to innovate in order to keep costs low in the face of economic uncertainty, various technology initiatives are being implemented which will help fill the gaps and get the job done. Some of these initiatives include:
- Diagnostic equipment
Using infrared and wireless technology in areas such as pest control can accurately identify and recommend ideal locations for trap deployment. This technology can also be used to monitor the usage of facilities and deploy manpower for maintenance based on usage. For example, it can be used to monitor the number of visitors and ammonia levels in toilets in order to determine how often they need to be cleaned.
- Use of biotechnology
Revolutionary developments in dealing with organic trash, such as the implementation of bio-organisms to convert food waste to fertilizer, is changing the way we manage waste. In a city-nation like Singapore where land resources are scarce, an efficient waste collection and disposal system is critical in ensuring operating costs are kept low while maintaining sustainability and hygiene standards.
- Better mobility
Safety on a job site is a main concern for facility managers who need to enforce rules against illegal activities such as parking, dumping, and encroachment. Providing better mobility to frontline staff such as the use of body worn cameras and the implementation of 2-way camera systems that minimise potential altercation through the use of remote communication are changing the way information is relayed while ensuring a safe working environment for staff.
These advances in the real estate industry will help make the work we do more powerful, insightful, and valuable, as technology continues to drive efficiency and change in all areas of business.
Leading a team of 600 specialists and operational staff in managing a diverse facilities portfolio of 4.5 million sqm, Su Chen plays a significant role in providing strategic direction, driving growth margins, overseeing business development, and delivering quality outcomes. Her project portfolio spans from institutional, industrial, commercial, infrastructure, healthcare, educational, retail, accommodation, residential, mixed development to mission critical, and other facilities.